It’s been a brilliant and busy July here at Eigg Box; a short-film course, a dance residency with Plan B and Indepen-dance , the arrival of Stef Lewandowski as the Eigg Box Geek in Residence and the final stages of Starter for Six being just a few of the highlights.
The Geek has landed!
First “Our Geek”, as Stef says he hopes he might be called in his blogpost describing his first experience of Eigg. Being selected as a host for Sync‘s Geek in Residence programme was an amazing surprise. Eigg Box barely exists yet. That and its location on ‘remote’ Eigg means it sits in spectacular contrast to the other hosts; Scottish Opera, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo & Stills Gallery in Edinburgh and Stirling’s Macrobert.
So the plan is, Stef and Eigg Box work together over the next five or six months to create a range of ideas to develop the Eigg Box community long before so much as a spade has been dug in the foundations of the planned new building. He was here for the incredible Away Game weekend and we talked with increasing excitment of making things (digitally) that were useful & fun. Things that help explain why Eigg’ so special, that will bring people here, or show the world how many great creative businesses Eigg has and what they do.
Key to it all is the idea that being on an island, far from a centre of population, doesn’t mean that you’re ‘remote’. Everywhere is a long way from somewhere, so in that way everywhere is remote. Eigg Box wants to make the remote central!
You can read some of what we talked about here, but there will be more! He’s coming back in September and the ideas will just keep on coming.
Inspired dance and crossing boundaries
Two weeks previously our community hall was filled with the sight, sound and movement of two dance companies Plan B and Indepen-dance. They’d come to Eigg to work together for a week to explore approaches to creating movement material, but principally to examine a method for understanding the early stages for developing choreography.
It all started with an invitation from Eigg Box to come and see if Eigg would be a good place to make work. The feedback has been amazing.
“Eigg Box presented us with an opportunity to work in a remote environment with no distractions and away from our normal surroundings. In many ways, the visit to the island of Eigg demonstrated a commitment to cross a geographic boundary; it’s only in crossing our own boundaries, putting ourselves in unfamiliar situations and challenging what we think we know, that we begin to truly learn.”
“Having experienced the wonderful hospitality, facilities and landscape that Eigg has to offer, we would have no hesitation in recommending Eigg to other artistic practitioners and companies looking for an inspiring and supportive environment in which to develop their work.”
July began with a course led by award-winning and almost local film-maker Sam Firth. Run in conjunction with iSCAPE (a joint venture between The Small Isles, Aberdeen University, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and LEADER) nine participants spent the weekend developing and the filming a short film – it’s not as easy as it looks/sounds!
Covering how to use the camera, through developing the idea, planning the shoot, filming, editing and finishing the two days were pretty full on. The final three films – shot in terrible wind and rain (“wipe the lens” being the day’s mantra) – were all gloriously different and immensely satisfying to do. Armed now with the basics, expect short films galore from Small Isles.
Like the dance residency, running an event in conjunction with another organisation is really good experience for Eigg Box and helps me better understand how training and residency projects might be developed in the future.
It doesn’t seem two minutes ago, but in fact it was April that I started the Starter for Six programme. The once a month training days, in between times homework tasks, expert help and mentoring/coaching have been invaluable in helping me form Eigg Box. Next month is The Pitch – that ‘Dragon’s Den’ moment when I get to pitch Eigg Box to a panel in the hope of attracting up to £10,000 investment. Whether I get the investment or not, the whole process has been incredibly useful, and left me with new tools for tackling a tricky start up that I can use again and pass onto others.
So cross everything for me. Pitch perfect would be nice, but win or lose, Eigg Box will happen. The interest, support and momentum that’s built up behind Eigg Box over the last few months has been overwhelmingly wonderful. It seems to be an idea that captures the imagination and offers new opportunities to a huge range of people. Onward!